The Saint and Satan’s Accusations (Gurnall)

Sometimes – by God’s grace and his Spirit at work in us – the Christian doesn’t give in to Satan’s crafty temptations.  One tactic the devil often resorts to in this situation is accusation.  That is, if he can’t get the Christian to sin, he tries to get the Christian to wallow in guilt.  William Gurnall explained it well:

“The devil is the blasphemer, but the poor Christian, because he will not join with him in the fact, shall have the name and bear the blame of it.  As the Jews compelled Simon of Cyrene to carry Christ’s cross, so Satan would compel the tempted Christian to carry the guilt of his sin for him.  And many time Satan doth so craftily, and with such sleight of hand, shift it [guilt] from himself to the Christian’s back, that he, poor creature, doesn’t realize the juggler’s art of conveying the guilt unto him, but goes complaining only of the baseness of his own heart.”

In other words, Satan is the guilty blasphemer who deserves condemnation.  But in his wicked deception, he makes the Christian think he or she is a guilty blasphemer who deserves condemnation.  This hurts the saint’s heart and faith.  Gurnall continues,

“And as it sometimes so happens, that an honest man in whose house stolen goods are found suffers because he cannot find out the thief that left them there, so the Christian suffers many sad terrors from the mere presence of these horrid thoughts in his chest, because he is not able to say whose they are – whether shot in by Satan, or the steaming forth of his own sinful heart. The humble Christian is prone to fear the worst of himself, even where he is not conscious to himself, like the patriarchs who, when the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, took the blame to themselves although they were innocent of the fact.”

Like an honest man being framed for stealing something he didn’t steal, the Christian suffers because we’ve been framed by the devil even though we are not guilty.

I don’t have time to note it all here, but Gurnall does move on to say that faith helps fight and withstand this wicked assault of the devil.  Faith helps discern the guilt trips Satan puts on us; faith assures the soul that forgiveness is real, that God is merciful, that God will preserve his own and use Satan’s assaults for the good of the Christian.  In Paul’s inspired words, faith is a shield “with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph 6:16 NIV).

The above quotes (slightly edited) are found in Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armor book 2, page 99.

Shane Lems

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